The Priory and The Prep Lower School students have been participating in "Hour of Code" with technology teacher, Debbie Shintaku, for the past several weeks. The activities, sponsored by code.org, aim to broaden participation in the computer science field. According to the website, the games are one-hour activities that are designed to demystify coding and show that anyone can learn computer coding basics.
Since early December, the students have been making their own video games by learning to write computer programing code. During Hour of Code, Shintaku set up each student with a course from the website and gave each
student their own account. Students were guided though the game-making process with a series of activities in which students could work at their own pace.
Upper School students in grades six through 12 also participated in Hour of Code as volunteers. The 26 girls helped the younger students navigate through the coding process. The helpers, who have already dabbled in coding themselves at school, were able to answer questions and trouble shoot with the Lower School students
"Hour of Code was a fun way to introduce students to computer science," second grade Prep teacher Michael Rickman said. "The students enjoyed learning various coding strategies and creating their own games. This activity was both empowering and exciting. We are now doing coding activities in our classroom on a weekly basis."
"My favorite Hour of Code memory was watching the fifth grade girls' excitement when using the new code learning app, 'Dance Party,'" Shintaku said. "They choreographed dances with different characters and backgrounds and were able to choose dance moves – like Floss, Dab, Drop Down – and music. They did not want to stop!"
St. Andrew's Schools has been facilitating Hour of Code for the past few years. Playing with code is a worldwide trend, thanks in part to code.org. Organizers created activities that celebrate computer science and challenge students to understand the basics in an ever-changing technological world. 200,000 educators worldwide support the grassroots campaign.
In a recent New York article, reporter Natasha Singer wrote, "In our tech-driven world, Hadi Partovi argues, computer science has become as essential for students as reading, writing and math."
"Encryption is at least as foundational as photosynthesis," Partovi said in the article.
The article explains that Code.org was founded by Hadi & Ali Partovi in 2012. The twin brothers were early investors in Facebook and Airbnb, Zappos and Dropbox, and created the website as a resource for educators with the hopes of starting a coding trend. To gain momentum for the movement, the two brothers and their team created a viral video to stir up mass demand for coding lessons. The group's goal is to get every public school in the United States to teach computer science.
Shintaku has some website recommendations for those looking to try coding: